Episode 9 – Culture in the Way You Communicate

Your Sports Resource

Uncover the power of cultivating a communicative culture as Renata explores the topic in ‘Culture in the Way You Communicate’. Through using the three keys of communicating promptly, consistently, and creatively, you will engage your audience whether it’s your staff and volunteers or your membership and stakeholders. Renata offers suggestions on how to ensure your communications are engaging and consumable.

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This is The Your Sports Resource Podcast, where each week we’ll discuss strategies that you can implement so the operations of your club support your coaching staff and the direction of your organization. We are committed to excellence in youth sports leadership. Let’s get started.


Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s podcast. Today I want to talk about your team culture, but more importantly how you manage or create a culture by the way you communicate. This will apply to how you communicate internally to your staff and volunteers as much as it applies to how you communicate externally to your membership, stakeholders, vendors, and your community.


I think I’ve said this before, but I feel like the more technology we have that makes communication easier, the harder it is for us to communicate for some reason, and I find it a weird or odd thing, especially the avoidance or reluctance to share or provide information.


I mean, what exactly is going on there? And I mean that sincerely, I really would love for someone to write me and explained what scenario or situation has ever been solved or made easier through avoidance? And anyway.


I think we all understand that when it comes to keeping staff and volunteers engaged and Members informed, it comes down to having a communication philosophy or communication culture and that means you need to shift your thinking and that proper communication is a proactive state.


It doesn’t mean you have to have the perfect words. It means it’s a purposeful approach and just like in any sport, the more you practice, the easier it becomes.


Now I’m going to put forward three key areas. I would like you to consider and that’s to communicate promptly, consistently, and creatively. Now notice I use the word promptly and not quickly.


There is something to be said for considering what you’re going to say. I would never advise just rushing in and saying whatever you feel will make everyone happy or just to get an email thread closed.


You should always take your time and think about what you’re going to say. But don’t avoid saying it for fear of not having all the information. If you avoid people filling the dead air with their imagination, right?


It’s better to give them what you know and tell them that you’re waiting for other details, and we’ll come back to them at a later time.  Sometimes not writing in a prompt manner is due to worrying about hurting someone or a group of people.


First, when we are talking about a Sports Club, your decisions should be based on the betterment of the organization as a whole, so keep that in mind when you respond. If you’re worried about how a staff member will take the information, that’s fair, but again, explain to me how avoiding that conversation is going to help.


Now notice I did go straight to the negative and maybe I should have reversed my commentary, but often when promptness doesn’t come into play, it’s not about anything negative. It’s usually because people either assume everyone knows or that someone will send the message or that you know, quite frankly, it’s low on your priority list.


This is where that shift in mindset comes into play. Make it a priority and make a plan. If it’s information that can be part of a weekly or a monthly email, then make a note or give it to the person who is responsible for those regular communications.


Also, there is no such thing as over-communicating. Even if you feel people already know, saying it again will reach someone, and don’t ever assume that someone else is delivering a message that you know is important. Follow up, ensure that message is being sent.


A lot of times when clubs tell me the parents feel out of the loop, it’s often due to the silliest of reasons. So, if part of your communication culture is to be prompt in your messaging. You won’t have upset parents. Well, at least not for the lack of communication.


Also, you’ll have staff who know what’s happening, and overall, everyone feels like they’re in the loop. Whether they have the complete picture or not.


The next key is to be consistent. I know that you understand this, but so if you make this a priority most of the time when people know they should do better, they set these high expectations and do really well at first. Then they fall back off or fall off the wagon, so to speak.


The key is to set. A realistic cadence for regular communications, one that is manageable and doable. It doesn’t matter if it’s weekly, monthly, or quarterly, just as long as it happens weekly, monthly or quarterly. Then, your audience knows that they will receive the information, but if there’s no consistency, meaning that your one month sends a message out every month then you go two or every week and then you go two months without a message. Then they have no idea if they’re going to get the information or not.


If you want to adjust how messages are sent out. Then tell the audience that you’re making a change starting on X date. We’re moving to monthly updates, then just stick to.


Consistency is also key when working with staff, but I’m going to come at it from a different angle. Consistency means all staff receives the same messaging. You don’t tell certain people you know a little bit more of the information or the more of the details because you have a better relationship with them or have known them longer. How you approach conversations is just like how you handle celebrations or corrections with staff.


It should be across the board ensuring everyone is treated like a valued member of the organization. Don’t put off one person one on one meetings, but always keep them for another person. What message is that sending that sends the message that you value one person over another, right?


Allow feedback from everyone, not just from the field. You should be approachable to everyone. I’m sure there are some of you who find this laughable but think about these statements honestly. There has been a time when you haven’t received the same message as others in some way, shape, or form. It happens all the time and it’s horribly counterproductive to creating a positive work culture.


OK, let me take a moment to tell you about www.yoursportsresource.com  This is a website that’s dedicated to the volunteers and leadership staff in youth sports. There’s a ton of free resources on topics such as board roles like the President, Secretary, Treasurer. There’s also information on the Fundraising for your club and the Marketing of your club.


Your Sports Resource also holds monthly interactive webinars that can help you focus your efforts and put your plans into action. The website again is www.yoursportsresource.com


The final area is to communicate creatively. We live in a time where short attention span theater is commonplace. People are not going to read a long email if you can even get them to read an email at all.


Well, let’s just go ahead and start here. So, do you need to send an email? Could you use a messaging platform instead? If you email, how can you say what you need to say in a concise way? How can you grab their attention? Do you need to add in fun announcements or special accolades to get people to take notice and sit down and read what you’ve just sent? Do you need pictures? Do you need to add humor? Maybe you should do video messages instead of the long boring newsletter how will you connect and make an impact?


Keep in mind you aren’t communicating for no reason. You have something important or necessary to say so how are you ensuring your audience, whether it’s one person or 100, are able to consume that information? And even more importantly. How do you ensure they want to hear or read what you have to say?


I can tell you that the main reason why your information is ignored is because they’re experiencing either communication overload. So too many messages from you or the organization, which means you need to go back and look at your cadence and planning again. How can you combine that information?


Or they feel like what you’re saying isn’t important or interesting to them anyhow. Same goes when you’re speaking to staff. Is it the same old boring staff meeting?


Yes, sometimes there is the mundane that you have to go over, but don’t let that dictate the mood or the vibe of your meeting. How can you get them engaged? How can you catch their attention?


Maybe have different people lead or speak. Set them up for success. If you catch someone doing something that you really would like others to learn about or to do. Ask them to explain their process at the next team meeting. Your meetings don’t need to be gimmicky. Yes, games and quizzes can be effective, but those don’t always add to the meeting, or we do them and then we stomp off the good mood by going right into the normal baloney.


Games are a good way to get to know each other, but it’s not sustainable and your team will see right through. And if you’re trying to do it you know, week after week or month after month, I can tell you that if you provide opportunities to learn and shine, your team will stay engaged and the information is real and relatable.


If you don’t know what kind of information to train them on, don’t always think about you know, a direct relation to their role. It can be something that’s an extra or an added value, and if you’re unsure, ask them what they want to know about. What do you want to learn about? By being creative with these communications, you increase your engagement, and you make the information consumable.


OK, that’s all I have for you today. While I’m sure you were nodding your head yes, throughout today’s message, please take a step back and really think through how you can be more prompt, consistent, and creative with your communications and how are you going to create a communication culture?


Thank you for listening and please subscribe, rate, and review this podcast so more can hear about how they can improve the leadership of their Sports Club.


In upcoming episodes, we hear from Tom Hinojosa with all American Archery and The Mental Performance Academy. He had some really interesting things to share, so I hope you’ll tune in.


You can also find more resources on www.yoursportsresource.com. Thanks for spending time with me!